Friday, September 21, 2012

Right schooling

We are looking for a school for our daughter. And like all parents we want the best. But what is best? It shouldn't be too far. There should be lot of emphasis on co-curricular activities. And I realise that one of the top criterions for me to consider is for the children to have light school bags. One of the saddest things to see is little children carrying bags bigger than their frail selves. Its heart breaking and I dread my kids will have to do the same. Why do children need to carry so many books? From my own experience, we had to carry classwork and homework notebooks for every subject plus all the textbooks. With ever increasing portions, the bags are only getting heavier.
First of all why give so much homework especially to little children in kindergarten and primary school? Why are we bent upon making them skilled in writing when as adults they are more likely to type (only). Are their little fingers capable of writing so much?
Secondly, writing is equivalent to rote learning. It would be far more important to minimise writing like an imposition when you write for the sake of finishing the HW and instead introduce creative learning. Cutting pasting drawing exploring experimenting etc.
Thirdly for grown up kids, there could be assignments that they write on foolscape papers and submit for evaluation which are then filed away.  Books and classwork books can be left in the school. The school ideally should provide storage for the children preferrably individual lockers or a big cupboard where individual bags with their books can be stored.
Without books at home, the HW will be forced to be more than just copying from books. Children will have to write from memory and understanding.
Eaxms can be 'open book'. Why force children to mug up information when it only needs to be referred? May be they can have a single note book in which they write the formulae and important references to do their HW - A multipurpose all subject note for reference.
I think schooling might just become more fun as it should be.
Picture this. All the important topics in the physics book is distributed as a project among the children. The kids are supposed to use all possible sources of information ranging from books, library, internet, grownups etc and then make a short presentation to the class. The teacher elaborates on the topic. Eclipses are discovered as experiments using balls and lights. Algebra is not just (a+b) square. But about finding out how many IPL matches will be played if there are 12 teams and each team plays the other twice.
The positive impact of such a schooling might be felt in years to come as the kids grow up into sensitive thinking individuals who can then change the world for the better.